• Israel's Arrow 3 system helped intercept drones and missiles during Iran's retaliatory attack.
  • Boeing helped develop the Arrow 3 system, which was funded largely by the US.
  • Israel's chief military spokesman said Arrow 3 had  "proved itself" on Saturday. 

Israel intercepted the majority of the airborne drones and missiles Iran fired in its retaliatory attack on Saturday thanks to an advanced air defense system that Boeing helped develop.

Israel's Arrow 3 system — first deployed in 2017 — is the top level of its air defense network and is designed to intercept targets in space. The system was developed with significant funding from the United States and is a joint project of Boeing and Israel Aerospace Industries and its subsidiaries, according to The New York Times.

Israel's chief military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, told reporters on Sunday that Arrow 3 had "proved itself against a significant number of ballistic missiles" that were fired by Iran.

Israel's defense ministry said in a fact sheet that "the Arrow-3 system's capabilities enable longer range, higher altitude (exo-atmospheric), and more precise ballistic missile engagements." It also noted that Arrow 3 has "state-of-the-art maneuverability," a "very short reaction time," and "hit-to-kill technology."

Arrow 3 is the successor to Arrow 2, designed to intercept targets in the upper atmosphere. The older system was first deployed in 2000 and was credited with intercepting a Houthi ballistic missile and a long-range rocket fired from the Gaza Strip during the Israel-Hamas war. Together, the systems comprise the top level of Israel's air defense network, which protects the country's territory from missiles, rockets, artillery, and drones.

Below the Arrow system is David's Sling, which engages medium- to long-range rockets and missiles at up to 185 miles. Under that is the Iron Dome, which can intercept several short-range artillery fire and rockets and is perhaps the best known of Israel's air defense systems.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

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